What have I been up to? Well, mostly taking a break. I took a few days off over the holidays to spend with John, Katherine and the dogs and it was wonderful. Now that I’m sick, I figure it must be time to get to work again. Evidently I overdosed on Christmas. Explains my sudden affection for Advil cold medicine.
Anyway, what I have actually been picking at is exploring different ways of felting with a plan (however vague) to incorporate woolen elements into the borders of some of my landscape pieces. I also intend to fiddle with rug hooking. My hope is that I’ll be able to add texture and depth to the borders by physically and visually building them out somewhat from the main image.
The first and most basic felted piece was a simple knitted swatch, washed in the machine. It worked fabulously and would be excellent as the foundation for borders. Stitching (with very short stitches, by machine) the outline of the piece to be cut and then cutting just outside the stitching should prevent fraying. I really like the results.
The piece was knitted in Lion Brand Wool (colourway Majestic Mountain) using 5mm needles. 72 stitches across and I simply knit until I had used up two balls of wool. The resulting felted piece is roughly 15″ x 18″. After washing, I blocked it (pinned it to a board) to dry, thereby flattening it and evening out the distortion. It worked great. I’m knitting a second piece now with the same number of stitches cast on and will use up the same two balls of wool. The width of the unfelted second piece is 18″, so it looks like there’s about 17% shrinkage with one washing (hot wash, cold rinse, liquid detergent). You can see the contrast below:
I also picked up a set of needle-punch felting stuff (punch, needles, wool) and am hoping to have a go at that in the next week or so. In and around the heapin’ pile ‘o paperwork and proposals and pieces to finish for immanent deadlines. And thank yous to write. And a mailing list to update. Again. It never ends, does it?